Amazon's new Kindle Scout Program has effectively taken the power away from the publishers and placed it squarely in the hands of the readers.
Here's a summary of how it works:
Authors are invited to submit a full length fiction manuscript plus book cover and blurbs. Amazon's reviewers read the manuscript and if it meets their standards, they create a 'campaign' for the book. This is made up of the cover, a one-line description and a longer blurb about the story, plus the first 5,000 words.
Anyone with an Amazon account can login, read what has been posted, and nominate the book, assuming they like it.
Each reader can nominate only three books. If they have already nominated three and then find one they like better, they can drop one of their previously nominated books and nominate the new one instead.
At the end of the 30-day campaign, the book with the highest number of nominations wins a publishing contract with Amazon for it's author, with a $1,500 royalty advance.
Readers who nominated a winning book get a free copy and are asked to provide a review.
Campaigns are ongoing and any author can submit their book (but only one book per author) any day of the year.
This program is brilliant because it puts the readers (who are the customers) in charge. They collectively and democratically choose the best stories, and help weed out the mediocre, the bad and the unfinished stories. The author has no way of knowing who has voted or canceled their vote, and readers cannot collaborate online.
It also takes the power away from the publishers. Twenty years ago, publishing houses and their editors were like Gods. Writers submitted their work and were told to expect rejection. A handful of professional 'readers' had the power to accept or reject every manuscript they reviewed.
Then came POD or Print On Demand, and the selection process became a lot less stringent.
When self-publishing became a reality, it brought out a lot of talented authors who would never have been published in the past, but it also brought a horde of books that should never have seen the light of day.
My hope is that Kindle Scout will even the playing field for authors and readers.
Here is my campaign:
VIRGO'S VARIANT is a romance thriller or suspense thriller with romantic elements.The first 5,000 words are on the site at Kindle Scout for people to read. (No Kindle is required). If you like what you see, you can nominate the book.